Jade Elthering woke up alone and tortured. At the age of 6, she was at the mercy of a killer. Some how she escapes and manages resume a normal life for eleven years thanks to her loving foster family. But when her kidnapper returns for her, life gets turned upside down. Transported back to her previous life, Jade must resume her true identity if she is to save her friends and family. But will she have the courage to face down her stalker?


10. Hollow Bicycle


We rode through the forest bumping into only a few other curious creatures like the Animen. There was the Reptuzz, the Fraymen, and the Girds.

The Reptuzz were the most interesting to me as they were almost like mermaids, but not the type you see in Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid. These creatures were human waist up, except for the barely noticeable gills on their necks. But from the waist down they had scaled legs, which could fold together to be a fin. They could survive in water or out, it didn’t really bother them. They were friendly enough, but their tempers were incredibly unstable so we didn’t chat with them for long. However we did see them splashing through the ponds as we rode by occasionally.

The Girds were like flying monkey type things with human faces. Imagine an oversized monkey with feathers and a human mouth. They were annoying! They were like oversized toddlers, always looking for something to play with and something to annoy.

The Fraymen were deaf and kind of like human sized butterflies with legs and tails. We didn’t talk to them for long at all, they may look peaceful enough, but we couldn’t communicate properly with them because

1) They were deaf and

2) They kept licking insects out of the air which was unnerving.

Blaze found this entertaining in a twisted sort of way but Renee kept on making disgusted noises every time they did it, which believe it or not, was more annoying than the actual consumption of the flies.


We set up camp on the first night in a clearing in the forest. We had 3 tents, and Renee refused to put hers up claiming that she’d break a nail so Blaze and I put it up for her. Even then she complained how small it was. I sighed and sent her off to collect more firewood. I helped Blaze set the fire going and we tidied our area. Blaze was staring into the fire absently and I noticed again how beautiful he was, the hollows of his cheeks shadowed in the firelight, and the green in his eyes reflected the flames, his tanned skin like polished wood smooth and shiny contrasted well with his shock of dark untidy hair. He caught me staring and cocked his head to the side, inquisitive.

‘What are you thinking?’ he asked.

‘Well… I was just admiring you. Did you know that you’re well, beautiful?’ I said shyly.

‘Oh, well thanks I guess,’ he said smiling. ‘Did you know that you’re well, beautiful?’ he replied happily.

‘Oh, well thanks I guess,’ I laughed at him.

‘Ha ha, I’m being serious though. I like the way you bit your lip when you’re thinking or upset. And the way you’re always so keen to learn. I like that you’re practical about things and don’t care about how it affects your hair. Which by the way, despite our day of hard travelling still looks great.’ he laughed.

‘But most of all, I like your eyes. They glow out of your face and seem to know something that your mouth won’t say… It could drive me crazy watching them because I so badly want to know what they know, but I watch them any way for the same reason.’  He finished. I stared at his face in shock, not knowing how or what to reply to that. He started singing quietly and gazed at the fire again, giving me a moment to collect myself. I shivered and moved closer to Blaze, and caught his eye. He cocked his head to the side again, and looked remarkably like a wondering puppy for a split second, then let out a breath that I hadn’t realised that he’d been holding.

‘Jade, do you remember anything about your past life now? Brief flashes of riding horses with my brother, etiquette lessons with my mother, Rosita singing me to sleep, and my father teaching me how to use a bow & arrow ran through my mind. But nothing significant, for all I knew these flashes of memory could just be figments of my imagination

‘Nothing in particular… just brief flashes of family moments. Why?’ I asked.

‘Because, well I suppose it couldn’t hurt to tell you… I mean it’s not like the future of the world depends on our friendship or anything… Well. Ah screw them; I can do what I want. Jade, we were best friends before your “accident”. We grew up together, Rosita and Annabelle were pregnant at the same time with us, and everywhere I went, so would you. And vice versa. We were inseparable. Apparently we were betrothed at birth. No choice or anything. I first found out after you left and I felt sick. I thought of you as a sister and nothing more, but the longer you were away the more I missed you, as more than a friend. I realized that being with you all that time had made me need you, more than anyone else, and that you were all I would ever need. Even as young and immature as we were back then I knew that I needed you.  But I didn’t want you, not in that way. I spent most of the time you were gone internally debating between my needs and my wants. I was caught in the adolescent hormonal rebel stage, and I didn’t want to marry you. Mainly because I didn’t have a choice in at, you know the feeling, all 13 year olds want is some freaking freedom!

‘But then you came back. And I got to know you again, the new you, the mature you, the one that was even more than the old you that I remembered. At first sight I felt bad because my memory hadn’t done you any justice, you were so much more than I had expected! Suddenly betrothed sounded like a wonderful word... So I set myself on a task of trying to get your memories back and trying to make you remember all of our great times and memories. 3 weeks and still not a single memory emerged from your mind. I was beginning to get desperate, and also, I missed Jacaiah. I decided to help you find your parents, and subtly get alone time all in one! But Renee ruined the alone bit, and nothing else is working. Still no hints of a remembrance?’

I shut my mouth, which had dropped open subconsciously at the betrothed part of his speech. We sat there and said nothing for a few minutes. I knew I should have said something but what? I had no words for what I was feeling, and what was the saying? Actions speak louder than words… I leant forward and touched his cheek lightly and leaving my hand there as I whispered ‘I recordatus vos, my Blaze. Always.’ I spoke in a language I didn’t even know that I knew. And I swiftly brushed my lips on his. Just as it was about to turn into something more, Renee returned. She gasped, and then dropped the twigs she had collected. The look on her face turned from shock, to horror, to anger.

‘Jade Elthering. Devil’s town bike.’ She hissed angrily. Town bike is a simply lovely term for someone who gets around the males quickly. I stifled a giggle as she stormed into her tent cursing loudly. Blaze looked confused.

‘Don’t worry. She’s just never had someone choose me over her. Wow, we’re making history here!’ I laughed, and so did he and of course the beautiful sound broke the tension of Renee’s little outburst. We sat outside on the logs near the fire for the rest of the night laughing and talking about my past.

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